Yes, California, there is a right way and a wrong way to wash clothes. And it can be simple enough for the most laundry-challenged among us. Follow these simple tips and your clothes will love you for it.
Before you do anything, check the labels. There are four main symbols:
1. Machine wash, which looks like a tub with water, will show a variety of symbols or numbers which designate temperature or hand washing.
2. A white triangle means chlorine bleach. If it is X’d through, it means NO chlorine bleach.
3. The dry clean symbol is a circle. If it is X’d through, it means no dry clean.
4. The tumble dry symbol is a circle inside a square. It will have varying dots inside the circle designating at what temperature you should dry the garment. One dot means low, two dots means regular, and an X means no tumble dry and only air dry.
You can find the variations of these symbols here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laundry_symbol
Next, you will want to separate your laundry into four piles with like garments. These should be:
Make sure to go through all garment pockets and pre-treat any stains. Turn denim pieces or any items with embellishments inside out. You may want to put delicates together in specialty mesh bags.
Set your water temperature. Use hot water for towels or any heavily soiled and stained items that are marked okay for hot water. Warm water works well for most other items that are white or light colors. Cold water should be used for your delicate clothing, denims, sweaters, or anything that is prone to shrinkage. Again, labels on clothing are your friends when you are unsure what water temperature to use.
The best way to fill your washing machine is to add your detergent as it is filling with water at about a third full. When the detergent has dissolved, add the clothes. Never fill a washing machine more than ¾ full.
Take special care when you are using any bleaches. Although a color-safe bleach can be used on all colors and is helpful when trying to remove stains, a chlorine bleach should only be used on whites and will ruin colored clothing. Always make sure that you use the bleach dispenser or diluted chlorine bleach when adding it to clothing in the washer.
Washing cycles should be paired with the type of garments in the washer. The regular cycle is good for items like towels, bedding, linen, denim, cotton, or any heavily stained items. Permanent press is designed to be used with synthetics. The delicate cycle is designed for delicate garments and sheer fabrics, as well as any washable silks and wools or clothing with embellishments. Many delicates should be hand washed. Again, check the labels.
If you take care to follow the labels when it comes to washing your clothes, it will enhance the longevity of your garments and alleviate the chance of bleeding colors that may ruin a whole load of whites.
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